Amy's Reviews > Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
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's review
Nov 09, 2007

it was ok

Bless Me, Ultima is the story of a young boy’s coming-of-age within a cultural tapestry that includes Spanish, Mexican, and Native American influences, and in which many of the major cultural forces conflict with one another. The young boy, Antonio Márez, must navigate a number of conflicts—between farmers and cowboys, Spanish and indigenous peoples, and English-speaking and Spanish-speaking peoples—that collectively structured the cultural life in rural New Mexico during the 1940s. The novel is also semiautobiographical. Like Antonio’s parents, Anaya’s mother was the daughter of farmers and his father was a vaquero, or cowboy. In his teens, Anaya suffered a serious swimming injury that left him temporarily paralyzed. This incident appears in Bless Me, Ultima when Florence, Antonio’s friend, dies in a swimming accident. Like Antonio’s family, Anaya’s family respected the art of curanderismo, or folk medicine, which Ultima practices throughout the book. Anaya and his siblings moved between the Spanish- and English-speaking worlds, and they were raised in a devoutly Catholic home, like the Márez children were. And like Antonio’s brothers, Anaya’s brothers were fighting in World War II during most of his early childhood.
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